Are you contacting your donors too often? (See the surprising answer!)

Most fundraisers are haunted by the belief that they might be chasing donors away by asking for gifts too often.

Good news: There’s little evidence that this happens.

In fact, you’re much more likely to be losing donors because you ask too infrequently.

The Avalon Blog agrees, at Dispelling Myths: “We Are Contacting Donors Too Much”:

…while all organizations are different and have varying results, we’ve found that reducing contact based on gut reactions instead of data can lead to lost revenue and lower donor retention.

That’s not to say more contact is always better in every way. Smart fundraisers look for ways to decrease contact with those least likely to give. And the best place to start is to look at your low-dollar donors. There’s a good chance you’re really wasting money on them, with the waste disguised by the better performance of higher-end donors.

And for most organizations, the low-dollar donors are the most common “too much mail” complainers.

You may also find you have seasonal donors and low-frequency donors that you’re reaching out to more than is helpful.

But don’t — really, don’t — go with your gut and slash fundraising frequency. That will cost you big time. You’ll get less revenue in the short term, and your donor retention rates (long-term revenue) will suffer.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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